Grade five, CIE IGCSE Maths

Revision Notes

What is a function?

A function is simply a mathematical “machine” that takes one set of numbers and changes them into another set of numbers according to a set rule.

eg  If the function (rule) is “double the number and add 1”

  • Putting 3 in to the function would give 2 × 3 + 1 = 7 out
  • Putting -4 in would give 2 × (-4) + 1 = -7 out
  • Putting a in would give 2a + 1 out

The number being put into the function is often called the input.

The number coming out of the function is often called the output.

What does a function look like?

A function f can be written as

f(x) = …     or    f : x ↦ …

which mean exactly the same thing.

eg  The function with the rule “triple the number and subtract 4” would be written

f(x) = 3x – 4 or f:x ↦ 3x – 4

In such cases, x would be the input and f would be the output.

Sometimes functions don’t have names like f and can be written as y = …

eg  y = 3x – 4

How does a function work?

  1. A function has an INPUT (x) and OUTPUT (f or y)
  2. Whatever goes in the bracket (instead of x)with f, replaces the x on the other side

eg  For the function f(x) = 2x + 1

    • f(3) = 2 × 3 + 1=7
    • f(-4) = 2 × (-4) + 1 = -7
    • f(a) = 2a + 1


Functions Basic Example, IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes


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